Shuttered Westside Big Fun Location Reopens as Special Holiday Pop-Up Shop

Remember that westside Cleveland/Lakewood Big Fun location? Well, Steve Presser and crew are back just for the holidays. The former Big Fun store has transformed into a special pop-up holiday store.

“Big Fun will have the usual great holiday gifts that the award-wining store is known for,” Presser promises. “Ghoulardi and Cleveland souvenirs, including mugs, t- shirts, books, etc. are the perfect gift for the local fan. An amazing selection of books, most of which are more than half off, will be offered. Christmas stocking stuffers for people of all ages. It is nice to be in the old neighborhood again.”

The former location is filled with an eclectic selection of unique holiday gifts. Items include holiday goods, Cleveland-themed items, art books, adult coloring books, vintage t-shirts, hundreds of LEGO items, a collection of more than 6,000 miniature VW Beetles and Minibuses, and items from City Buddha and Blaze Gourmet.

“Joe Valenti from Flower Child called me and asked if I was interested in doing a pop up shop,” says Presser. “Almost like a co- op or an antique mall. I called my buddies in business for a little help. Larry Collins of City Buddha created a great little shop inside with wonderful jewelry and accessories. Jim Lanza of Foundry Wood prints put together a Cleveland themed area of coasters, wood prints and old school t- shirts. George Seres of Blaze Gourmet added some hot sauces and his fun t-shirts.”

Speaking of t-shirts, Presser is especially excited about a special collection of 1970’s vintage Toolies shirts. He explains, “A ‘new’ friend of mine Brian Byers, told me a story of how he and his brother, a graphic artist that worked for American Greetings, created a line of t- shirts back in the late 70s featuring hand drawn images of tools. Appropriately named Toolies, these vintage shirts sat in a California warehouse for over 35 years, until Brian got married to a northeast Ohio gal named LuAnn and moved back to Northeast Ohio, where the 2 originally were from. They bought a house in Lakewood. Big Fun is the only place you can get these classic 1970's t- shirts for $18.00.”

The pop-up shop is highlighted by two new and very special collections that Presser is displaying for the very first time.

“I got a call from a friend who wanted to know if I could help a close friend of hers liquidate a toy collection of her friend's father, who sadly passed away,” Presser reveals. “Well, it was actually two collections that the father had a passion for. One was over 100 complete Lego buildings and a ton of accessories. The other was his real love - Volkswagen Beetle Bugs. The collection is over 6,000 individual VW bugs, beetles, vans, campers, etc. These two wonderful collections will be featured at the Clifton store and will be for sale.”

Additionally, the walls above the retail shelves are filled with a special retrospective of acclaimed local artist Dana Depew’s artwork. Looking Up to Dana Depew opens with a special reception this Thursday, Dec. 10 from 6 to 9 p.m.

“Dana Depew is an artist that I first saw at the inaugural Ingenuity Fest,” reflects Presser. “The art was hung on a wall in the old McCrory building. I loved the work and liked that I didn't know the gender of the artist (not that it matters). I did a little research and found out more about Dana Depew, the artist. I love that Dana works in several art forms. Dana's Asterisk Gallery in Tremont was a wonderful place to see all art media and showcased a variety of artists. I grew to respect Dana, not only as an artist, but also as a champion of local artists. We became good friends and I was honored to have Dana make several sign pieces for Big Fun on Coventry, using reclaimed neon letters. Dana's whimsical, reclaimable, and colorful neon signs scream Big Fun. Dana also made an incredible neon sign for our Big Fun Columbus store, which changed the direction of signage in that arts district. We now have several Dana Depew pieces in our house, including one of his crazy cylindrical light pieces.”

Most of Depew’s work in the shop is priced at $100 or less, and is available for sale in the shop before Thursday’s reception.

The pop-up Big Fun holiday shop is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sunday. Thursday evening’s reception is free and open to the public.

(Big Fun Pop-Up Holiday Shop) 11512 Clifton Blvd., Lakewood,
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